Greetings, and welcome back to Horror Business. We have one awesome episode in store for you guys because we’re talking about two dark fantasy films: 1985’s Return To Oz and 1990’s The Witches.
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We start by talking about what we’ve done involving horror recently. Liam talks about seeing Brooklyn 45. Justin talks about attending the virtual screening segment of Chattanooga Film Fest and some of the films he saw there, as well as a trip he took to the Stanley Hotel, where back in the ’70s Stephen King was staying when he was inspired to write The Shining, as well as seeing Insidious: The Red Door and Absurd.
Up first is Return To Oz. We talk about the casting process to find the perfect Dorothy. We talk about how while the original film had a few unintentionally scary parts, this film had a strange, unsettling atmosphere the entire run time, as well as Dorothy’s home of Kansas being just as upsetting as Oz simply due to the way children with medical problems were treated in that time period.
We go on a brief tangent on the history of mental healthcare in this country. We talk about how this version of Oz is far more threatening and dangerous than the original film. We discuss some of the more clearly not meant for children moments in the film, as well as some of the moments in the film where the budget cuts towards the end of production show.
Justin talks about how the most unsettling and effective aspect of the film for him was the end when the Nome King is defeated and the Claymation begins to resemble the end of the first Evil Dead film and looks equally frightening.
We talk about how much of a curveball this film must’ve been when parents in the ‘80s took their kids to see this opening night due to the first film being so beloved.
Up next is The Witches. Justin starts by talking about how not only did the movie not really scare him but he found some of the “Peter Jackson-esque close ups of people’s mouths” sickening and Angelica Huston more annoying than scary, although the sound of the main character Luke in distress hit a very parentally sympathetic chord in him.
We talk about director Nicholas Roeg’s pedigree in film, as well as the soft spot many millennials have for this film. Liam talks about how the film has a very Disney-esque feel to it, and how the film drags at times between THAT scene and the witch’s actual plan.
We talk about how the film feels very British and the comedic value of “the improper”. We discuss how the film almost lets us believe that these two children are left to be mice for the rest of their lives before the good witch turns them back into children. The ending of a grandmother and her grandson traveling to America to hunt down the remaining witches is, while amazing, not really in line with the rest of the film.
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